Regular updates on environment
1. Updated product category rule for imaging equipment available for comment
UL Environment has been working diligently with the imaging equipment industry to update the Product-Specific Criteria for Electrophotographic and Inkjet Printer (PSC-ID: AD-03), originally developed by Japan Environmental Management Association for Industry (JEMAI) in 2004. This Product Category Rule (PCR) will enable imaging equipment manufacturers to create internationally applicable Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) which are a third-party certified, comprehensive disclosure report of a product’s lifecycle-based environmental impact.
EPDs are the paragon of environmental transparency. They provide a product’s lifecycle assessment (LCA) and other information relevant to a product’s sustainability profile. PCRs are a key element of the EPD development process, as PCRs define the specific information that needs to be reported in the EPD.
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2. Ultrafine particle emissions: Electronics and Printers
Understanding a product’s potential for ultrafine particle (UFP) emissions is an important step in a manufacturer’s product safety evaluation. Exposure to these pollutants can be harmful to human health, with numerous studies indicating a strong correlation between UFP exposure and respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.
UFPs are typically defined as particles less than 0.1 micron (100 nm) in size, which is about the same size as a virus and even smaller than a red blood cell. Because they are so small, they can easily pass through the skin and the lungs, make their way into the circulatory (blood) system to travel throughout the body. Once in the body, UFPs can attack cells and DNA, potentially causing negative health effects to the pulmonary system (lungs), cardiovascular system (heart) and central nervous system (brain).
Many third-party product certification programs—including Blue Angel, EcoLogo, GREENGUARD, EPEAT (IEEE), Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), to name a few—require that products meet chemical emissions criteria to achieve certification. In fact, the impact of UFPs from electronic and print devices has actually been recognized by ECMA International (European Computer Manufacturers Association), resulting in UFP emissions criteria being incorporated into the latest draft of their standard test method for the measurement of emissions from electronic equipment (ECMA-328).
Electronics and printers are known sources of UFPs within the indoor environment. The type and age of the printer, print mechanisms, paper type, and toner all affect how many UFPs are released from the printer into the air. In a 2007 study by He et al., indoor levels of UFPs were observed to increase during working hours, when printing was occuring, as much as five-fold from non-working hours to working hours. Moreover, the UFP levels indoors were higher than the UFP levels found outdoors during an automobile engine’s combustion and exhaust process.
UL AQS has the capability to measure UFPs and perform product safety evaluations specific to UFP emissions. Special equipment including dynamic environmental chambers, a state-of-the-art Engine Exhaust Particle Sizer™ (EEPS™), and a Condensation Particle Counter (CPC) which can measure down to the single particle level, allow rapid measurements of and capture changes in particle emissions.
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